The traditional four days Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a dream come true for many people and provides a fantastic physical and mental challenge in a stunning natural environment. Thousands of people hike the ancient Inca trail every year, walking through the awe inspiring Andes mountains and cloud forests to arrive at Machu Picchu. But why is the Inca trail so popular? It has an extraordinary ecology and is rich in biodiversity and exotic vegetation which includes around 500 stunning varieties of Orchid. The landscape surrounding the trail is impressive and it is possible to see snowy mountains from the camp spots. The archaeological sites along the trail are impressive and the stones that lie along the trail that date from the XV century provide further interest along the way. More than this, there is an air of magic about the Inca trail that cannot be described in words; it must be experienced. The amazing site of Machu Picchu cannot be fully understood without the experience of hiking the Inca trail and that first glimpse of the famous city of the Incas will stay in your memory forever. Walking the Inca trail is an act of devotion to the memory of the Incas whose civilisation has had such a profound impact on the history of Peru. The four day trek to Machu Picchu covers about twenty-eight miles, starting at an elevation of (2.650m/11,975ft) and reaches (4.215m/13,828ft) at the highest point and then descends to (2.400m/7,874ft) above sea level.
Inca Trail:daily departures in private service.
Day 01: Cusco – KM 82 – Huayllabamba: The Inca trail hike begins with an early pick-up from your hotel around 5:00am. You will be picked up by private transport and transferred to the kilometer 82 or piskacuchu “trail check point” (2700/8856ft). On the way the group will stop at Ollantaytambo to buy water, plastic rain ponchos, batteries for photo cameras, flash lights and to use toilets if required. Once you arrive at the Kilometer 82 check point you will be registered at the Inca trail control where you will need to show your original passport. Once registration is complete we will cross a bridge over the Sacred River and begin the hike. The first part of the trail is very gentle for about two hours then we will walk up a small hill to arrive at Miskay (2800m/9184ft). Miskay is a lookout point with a fantastic view over the valley and the surrounding mountains. After a small stop we will continue hiking for about 40 minutes and arrive at Willca Raqay “holy enclosure” (2850m/9350ft) which is a nice Inca site with numerous enclosures that would probably host 1000 people. The site also offers a fabulous view of the Llactapata archaeological site. The trekking continues for about twenty minutes and then we arrive at a small settlement called Tarayoc where our group will have a nutritious lunch prepared by our expert chef. After lunch the trail leads to the Cusichaka river and after around 2 hours we will reach the community of Wayllabamba (3000m/9840ft).
(Trek difficulty: Medium. Total distance: 10 km “6.21 miles”. Estimated walking time: 6 – 7 hours).
Day 02: Huayllabamba – Warmiwañusca “dead woman pass” – Pacaymayu: The trail has several stairs from the beginning to the end. at few minutes we arrive to the control to get registered and after that we walk by a uphil trail, we arrive to ayapata that is a camp site form some group and after that the trail goes through a forest and we will walk along many stairs and next to a clear water stream which is said to provide magic energy to hikers. After walking approximately 2 hours we will arrive at Llulluchapampa (3800m/12,467ft). Llulluchapampa is the “Nostoc land” algae that grow in the highland lakes. The walk is challenging but when you arrive you will be rewarded by the sight of breathtaking mountains and finally you will see the impressive summit up close. After a break we will continue hiking on the subalpine section to reach the highest point of the Inca trail Warmywañusca pass “Dead Woman pass“(4215m/13.828ft). The summit is simply amazing because from this height you will see a wide range of mountain tops and cloud forest vegetation including the world’s highest cloud forest and the flora and fauna which is living at (3800m/12.467ft). After taking a break for photos on the summit we descend to our camp. The trail here is stone paved and well preserved; many bushes and flowers decorate the trail to the camp at Pacasmayu “hidden river” (3650m/11.975ft). We will arrive to the camp at around 14:00 hours after 2 hours of downhill hiking. We then enjoy a well-deserved lunch and have the rest of the afternoon free for relaxing at our camp.
(Trek Difficulty: Challenge Hard. Total distance: 9 km “5.6 miles”. Estimated walking time: 6 -7 hours).
Day 03: Pacaymayu – Wiñayhuayna: We begin an uphill path which leads to an old Inca trail that climbs steeply up the opposite side of the valley towards the second pass. About halfway up, there is a small round roofless enclosure known as Runcuracay (3790m/12,434ft), after visiting this building we continue the trail by climbing towards the highest pass “Runcuracay Pass” (3900m/12,795ft). This summit offers the hiker a panoramic view of mountains and valleys. From this point the trail goes downhill for about 1.5 hours then we arrive to Sayacmarca “Town in a Steep Place” (3650m/11,975ft). This town is on a rocky promontory overlooking a large valley and the Inca trail and is accessible only by a single narrow stone staircase, the trail descends into a lush cloud forest. This is one of the most fascinating parts of the trail and it is also one of the easiest to walk. After 15 minutes we arrive at Chaquicocha “dry lake” where we stop for lunch. From lunch continuing we arrive in to an interesting Inca tunnel carved into a granite mount slope. After a couple more kilometers we will arrive at the third pass named Phuyupatamarca “Cloud-level Town” (3650m/11,975ft). This site enjoys panoramic views over the Urumbamba River snaking its way through a lush green valley, it has rectangular structures and several water fountains fed by spring water. Below the trail is all downhill, ahead there is a spirals stairway that amazes everyone, it descends steeply towards Wiñayhuayna, “Forever Young” (2650m/8,694ft) which is another very interesting Inca site with waterfall views. Upon arrival our tents will be ready and you can rest in your tent before dinner.
(Trek Difficulty: Challenge. Total distance: 15 km “5.56 miles”. Estimated walking time: 8 -9 hours).
Day 4: Wiñayhuayna – Machu Picchu: The final section of the magical trail from Wiñayhuayna to Intipunku is an easy hike. We walk along a broad level path which winds lazily through scrub and light woodland with colorful butterflies fluttering across the trail. After no more than an hour, the trail comes to a narrow flight of stone steps leading upwards into a small stone structure with a grass floor a few meters square. This is Intipunku “Gateway of the Sun” (2720m/8,923ft) where the trail passes through a rectangular doorway and you finally get a glimpse of Machu Picchu, the magical city of the Incas. From here the pathway leads down a steep slope to Machu Picchu and we arrive at the site after another hour of walking. On arrival it is necessary to ‘check out’ of the Inca trail and then ‘check in’ at Machu Picchu (2400m/7,874ft). A visit to Machu Picchu usually takes about two hours and after this guided tour you’ll have free time for further exploration of the site. You may wish to explore the Inca bridge which is a gentle 30 minute walk. Finally you will need to catch a bus to Aguas Calientes “Machu Picchu Town” (2000m/6561ft) where the train station is located. Please ensure that you are at the train station 30 minutes before your train departure. When you arrive at Ollantaytambo train station in 1.4 hours, then our personnel will be waiting to drive you back Cusco city in our private transport arriving after 1.4 hours where our fantastic service ends.
(Trek Difficulty: Gentle. Total distance: 6 km “3.28 miles)